Meet the teacher is a great event to calm the nerves of both parent and child. It is a chance to peek into your child’s classroom, meet other families who will be in class with your child, preview the curriculum and say hi to the teacher. As a former teacher, and mom to 3 – I’ve gone through more than a few meet the teacher events. Here are some of the best Meet the Teacher Tips for parents.
We applied for our daughter to be enrolled at a local charter school with a health living focus. Unfortunately, we didn’t “win” the lottery in the spring. They called us the week before school started and with an open spot. We said “Yes!” Although I wasn’t excited about a full day kindergarten, I was happy at the opportunities she will have. The school believes in educating the “whole child” and starts the day with Yoga, allows only healthy foods and gives children the opportunity to play.
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Needless to say, we were all a little nervous. It was our first kid, first time in school, first time as a parent at a meet-the-teacher event. Luckily, I’ve done quite a few Meet the Teacher events as the teacher, so I knew a little bit of what to expect.
Meet the Teacher Tips: Making the Most of Meet the Teacher
1. Show up a few minutes early.
This will give you and your child a moment to take a deep breath, exchange a hug, and put on your happy faces.
2. Listen and only ask questions pertinent to the whole class.
If you would like to know the school’s daily schedule and the teacher didn’t talk about it – ASK. If you want to know how the teacher will be able to keep your strong willed child focused and organized – SAVE this question for a private meeting either in-person or by phone. The meet the teacher is a very general get-to-know you meeting and is NOT for 1:1 conferencing.
3. Sign up to volunteer.
I’ve got 3 kids and it is near impossible for me to volunteer in the classroom. I always put my contact information on the list and offer to cut and prepare projects at home. I was sent home from Meet the Teacher with a stack of papers and asked to make these stars. I love that her teacher was willing to welcome me into the classroom community in the capacity that I was able to handle.
4. Ask for the classroom wish list.
If your family is in a financially sound place, ask the teacher if there is a classroom wish list or supplies that need to be purchased for the classroom. Many times teachers purchase items for their classroom with their own pocket money. When parents who can help out – teachers are able to do more science projects, hands on art, and maybe even cook with the kids.
5. Take pictures of the classroom.
This may sound silly, but I like to take pictures of the classroom and print them out. We can make a home-made book with them and use the images to spring board discussions. These pictures also come in handy when you ask your child what they did all day. I just take the class pictures out and ask her to point to the station she went to and have her tell me about it.
6. Find the Positives
There is NO perfect school. There is NO perfect teacher. I start at Meet the teacher by looking for the positives and making a mental note of them. Is your child’s teacher organized? Did they smile when your child walked in the door? Do they seem excited about the school year? Is there something about the curriculum you enjoy?
There will be things throughout the school year that are not “perfect.”
For example: I love the way that my daughter’s kindergarten teacher combines Montessori and Traditional Education. She is also the sweetest teacher and I feel like my baby will have many opportunities to learn and grow in a safe and caring environment. When I’m frustrated about something that happens in the classroom, then I will make sure to remember these positive attributes.
7. Talk about meet the teacher with your child
After you have the opportunity to attend meet the teacher, talk with your child about it. Ask questions. Point out the positive things you noticed.
In addition to talking to our daughter about her new classroom, we also read stories about starting school. My husband and I have tried to answer her questions and talk to her about what kindergarten is like.
I think the best advice was when she asked her Papa, “What do I do if I miss Mommy and am sad?” His response, “Cry!” I was a little shocked at his answer, but my daughter busted out laughing.
I don’t think either of us expected him to say cry. But he followed it up with an explanation, “If you are sad, it is OK to cry. Sometimes it may help you feel better and then you will have an awesome day.”
WOW – isn’t that the truth and I don’t think I could have given her any better advice.
It is ok to be nervous.
It is o.k. to have questions. (both parents and kids)
Did I miss any Meet the Teacher Tips? Leave a comment below and let us know how your Meet the Teacher event went!
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